The First World War is proving fertile ground for imaginative events this year, the latest of which is the Newbury Spring Festival in Berkshire (May 10-24), for which bookings open tomorrow (March 6). The festival, founded in 1979 by Jeanie, Countess of Carnarvon, opens on May 10 with Mozart’s Requiem.

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Jeremy Paxman will discuss his new book, Great Britain’s Great War, at Englefield House on May 22; the tenor Joshua Ellicott is giving a lunchtime recital on May 24 at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, telling in song the story of his great-uncle’s war through the letters he sent home. This is followed by a symposium with military historians such as Sir Max Hastings entitled ‘A Tragic and Unnecessary Conflict?’.

More big names include Catherine Bott, James Bowman, Eric Whitacre, Maureen Lipman, Anne Reid and the soprano Ruby Hughes, a John Lewis Young Star (0845 521 8218; www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk).

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